Map showing the Lake Baikal Basin. Graphic: International Lake Environment Committee Foundation (ILEC)

By Olga Gertcyk
25 May 2016

(Siberian Times) – The lake's level is falling, and Mongolian hydro plans would disrupt inflows, and could cause a 'tsunami' of water, say campaigners.

Newspaper Izvestia this week was blunt in assessing the eco-damage threat to Baikal, a natural reservoir which contains around 20% of the world's unfrozen freshwater.

'Baikal might share the destiny of the Aral Sea,' it stated. 'Construction of three hydro power stations on the Selenga River and its tributaries can cause the unique lake to dry out.'

The 25 million year old lake - a UNESCO world heritage site - is 'on the edge of environmental catastrophe and if certain measures are not taken, it might disappear just like the Aral sea.'

The impact of proposed Mongolian hydro projects could also be to threaten the Buryatian capital city, Ulan-Ude, in the event of an accident to one of three planned dams.

Environmental activist Sergey Shapkhayev warned: 'Potential damage from the third hydro power station which will be located on the Eg River (a Selenga tributary) could cause a huge catastrophe. Hydrological experts believe that this power station is the most dangerous of all. [more]

Extreme warnings issued that Lake Baikal could 'drain dry like the Aral Sea'

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